American-Made Challenges


EnergyTech University Prize 2024

Tasking students to create & present a business plan around energy tech. Tasking faculty to elevate energy entrepreneurship at their school.
Faculty Track Informational Webinar


Register now for the webinar Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. ET to learn more about the EnergyTech UP 2024 competition and the regional pitch events! Indicate your interest in competing by filling out this interest form.

Sponsored by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the American-Made EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP), where student teams compete for cash prizes for successfully identifying a promising energy technology, assessing its market potential, and creating a business plan for commercialization. 

Starting in 2024, EnergyTech UP offers the ability for both students and faculty to compete in their own respective tracks. 

Students: Develop and present a business plan that leverages National Laboratory-developed or other emerging energy technologies developed by students, faculty, or industry. Throughout the competition, they receive mentorship and materials to help them succeed, all while competing for part of $400,000+ in cash prizes.

Faculty: Develop and implement educational activities to engage more students in energy technology commercialization and entrepreneurship topics at their institution. While faculty have always been, and remain, welcome and encouraged to mentor a team competing in EnergyTech UP, this new track is designed to incentivize and support faculty directly, with $100,000 in cash prizes available.

About the Prize

This prize is sponsored by DOE’s OTT, as well as several other program offices. EnergyTech UP, in partnership with American-Made Challenges, is designed to be approachable, equitable, and scalable nationwide. Winners are chosen based on the strength of their business proposals. Participating students are provided with a curated list of National Lab technologies that are ready for commercialization and that can be used for their business plan. 

Prize Structure for Student Competitors

Student teams compete for more than $400,000 in cash prizes as they explore business opportunities for lab-developed or other high-potential energy technologies, assess commercialization opportunities through market analysis and present a viable business plan to industry judges. 

Understanding that energy is often inherently local, competitor teams first present at their designated regional events in February, where regional finalists are identified. Teams that are invited to participate in the regional events receive free access to OTT’s Energy I-Corps curriculum. Finalists are provided exclusive mentorship to help students refine their ideas throughout February and March. Finally, the finalists pitch their complete business plan as part of Zpryme’s 2024 Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas on April 15, 2024.

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Prize Structure for Faculty Competitors

The faculty track is designed for educators who may benefit from mentorship and resources to create an implementation plan for their blossoming ideas for integrating or expanding energy technology commercialization or entrepreneurship activities at their home institution. 

Faculty (or faculty teams) will compete for part of the $100,000 prize pool through three phases of competition. They will develop a proposal to expand energy technology commercialization or entrepreneurship activities at their home institution; receive access to a DOE mentor and DOE resources; and work toward showing how their plans could be integrated into student activities. 

How to Compete

Are you a collegiate student or faculty member interested in transitioning energy technologies to market? The EnergyTech University Prize is for you! Here are next steps you can take to get started: 

2024 Important Dates

Please see the official timeline in HeroX for the most current schedule of events. All dates are subject to change, including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements.

To see the results of the 2023 competition, visit the now archived 2023 HeroX page:


Challenge Updates

Get Connected with Your Regional Convener at Dec. 5 Webinar

Nov. 30, 2023, 11:45 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

The 15 conveners leading the regional Explore Events will be at the Dec. 5 webinar—join the webinar to connect with the industry experts in your region.

During the next webinar, we’ll introduce each of the regional conveners, covering the skills and expertise they bring to the competition, as well as how to get in touch with them if you have questions about your regional Explore Event. Here’s a sneak peek at the EnergyTech UP 2024 regional conveners:

More details about the regional conveners, as well as how to connect with them, will be shared during the Dec. 5 webinar. Prize administrators will also discuss how the regions will be divided, and tips for preparing a successful virtual pitch, as well as answering your questions.

Register here for the next webinar on Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. ET! 

Join Dec. 5 Webinar on Regional Pitch Events

Nov. 27, 2023, 7:30 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

Register now for the webinar Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. ET to learn more about the EnergyTech UP 2024 competition and the regional pitch events!

If you missed the October or November webinar, we have another informational webinar coming up on Dec. 5. Whether you’re a new follower of the EnergyTech University Prize HeroX page or you’ve competed in the past, you’re invited to join this webinar to learn about the 2024 competition. 

This webinar will have a focus on the regional pitch events, the first milestone students reach in the competition. Students and faculty members alike will learn about how teams will be assigned to regions, the industry organizations leading each event, and tips to successfully prepare for the virtual pitch. 

And, as always, the competition organizers will conclude the event with a live Q&A session. Register here—even if you can’t join the webinar live, we’ll send you a recording of the session. 

This is the last webinar of 2023—the final webinar will occur Jan. 23, 2024, with a few office hours sessions in mid-January. If you’re considering competing for part of more than $400,000 in cash prizes in EnergyTech UP 2024, we highly recommend joining the Dec. 5 webinar!

We hope to see you there! 

Nov. 15 Informational Webinar Recording Now Available

Nov. 16, 2023, 9:20 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

You can now stream a recording of the Nov. 15 informational webinar covering prize basics and the $100,000 faculty track. 

If you missed this helpful session, you can now watch the recording to learn more about deadlines, rules, submission requirements, and other important prize information. During the webinar, prize administrators also focused heavily on the faculty track, including the funds, mentorship, and support the prize can offer for faculty activities. Any interested faculty who were unable to attend the webinar are strongly encourage to watch the recording before preparing their submissions.   

Meanwhile, mark your calendars for the next prize webinar, happening Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. ET.!

Don’t Miss Today’s Informational Webinar

Nov. 15, 2023, 8 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

The EnergyTech UP 2024 faculty track informational webinar is happening TODAY at 4 p.m. ET. It’s not too late to join!

Join the webinar to catch up on prize basics, including deadlines, rules, and submission requirements. Prize administrators will also focus on the new $100,00 faculty track, designed to support collegiate educators who are interested in integrating or expanding energy technology commercialization and entrepreneurship topics in their institution’s educational activities. 

If you’re a faculty member and are interested in competing, mentoring a team, or just sharing this opportunity with students at your school, we strongly encourage you to join the webinar. Students interested in competing can also join to learn more about the competition and ask questions! 

Register now and join us at 4 p.m. ET!

Three Ways Faculty Can Get Involved in EnergyTech UP

Nov. 7, 2023, 7:15 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

The EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) isn’t just a great experience for students—it also has many benefits for faculty! Are you curious about new ways faculty can bring impactful lessons in energy commercialization or entrepreneurship to your school? Here are three ways collegiate educators can get involved in this year’s competition.

Help spread the word. When students succeed, faculty succeed. Share info to your students using our outreach materials, or encourage them to sign up for the Nov. 15 informational webinar to learn competition basics.

Integrate EnergyTech UP into your work. Take your encouragement one step further and lead one or more teams through the competition! Student teams can present business plans for faculty-developed technology, benefitting students and faculty simultaneously. Plus, the competition occurs entirely during a typical academic calendar, allowing faculty to leverage the program within existing courses. 

Join the faculty track! Faculty can win a share of our $100,000 prize pool for work to integrate concepts of entrepreneurship and/or energy technology commercialization into their institution’s educational activities. Educators will get access to networking and insights from the U.S. Department of Energy and its national laboratories, as well as funding to help them implement their ideas. Interested faculty are strongly encouraged to register for the Nov. 15 informational webinar to learn more about the mentorship, support, and prize pool.

Please register in advance for the informational webinar on Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. ET. You’ll have the chance to ask questions about how to support students in an impactful way that works with your schedule. 

We hope to see you there!